UPDATED: AUGUST 07, 2023 | 2 MIN READ
Roofs are necessary for any building but often go unnoticed until the first rainy day. The lifespan of a roof is typically 20-30 years. Unlike wine, it doesn’t improve with age. A roof is often the most expensive and overlooked part of a home. In many cases, it isn’t until there is a major issue with the roof that homeowners start to appreciate its importance. Explore how homeowners insurance with an old roof works
How does homeowners insurance treat older roofs?
An old roof can be a big risk and make it difficult to get home insurance. It’s fairly common for home insurance companies to require older roofs to pass inspection before granting a policy. The payout of roof-related claims can depend on the cause of the damage.
“Acts of God,” such as severe weather events, will probably be covered as long as the roof was properly looked after beforehand. Leaks or water damage caused by a 20-year-old roof that was not maintained adequately are unlikely to be covered.
If you have an old roof and are looking for a homeowners insurance policy or a renewal, you can ensure you’re covered by being proactive. It’s important to keep detailed roof repairs and maintenance records, including photos. If you file a roof claim, you will have the evidence to back up the issue to compensate you for your damages.
Common signs of roof damage
Your roof plays a crucial role in safeguarding your home from the elements, but it can suffer wear and tear over time, leading to damage. As a homeowner, it’s essential to be vigilant and identify potential roof problems early on to prevent more extensive and costly issues. Here are some common signs of roof damage that you should be on the lookout for.
Curling or missing shingles
One of the most apparent signs of roof damage is when shingles start to curl or become dislodged. Curling shingles can occur due to age, prolonged exposure to sunlight, or improper installation. Missing shingles leave your roof vulnerable to water penetration and may be caused by strong winds or severe weather events. If you notice any curling or missing shingles, it’s time to take action.
Water stains on ceilings
Water stains on your ceilings or walls can be a telltale of a roof leak. When water finds its way through damaged roof areas, it can seep into your home, leaving visible stains. Don’t ignore water stains, which can indicate more significant problems with your roof’s integrity. Addressing leaks promptly can prevent water damage to your interior and potential mold growth.
Visible mold or mildew
Mold and mildew thrive in moist environments, making your roof an ideal breeding ground if leaks or poor ventilation exist. If you notice dark spots or patches of mold on your roof or the exterior walls, it’s essential to address the issue promptly. Mold growth can compromise the structural integrity of your roof and pose health risks to your household.
A roof that appears to sag or dip in certain areas signifies significant structural damage. Sagging can occur due to excessive weight on the roof, water accumulation, or weakened support structures. It’s crucial to have a professional roofing contractor inspect and address this issue promptly to prevent further damage and potential collapses.
Asphalt shingles often have granules that protect the roof from UV rays and provide fire resistance. If you notice excessive granules in your gutters or downspouts, it may indicate that your shingles are wearing down and nearing the end of their lifespan. Granule loss can lead to reduced protection and premature aging of your roof.
Flashing is the metal or rubber material installed around chimneys, vents, and skylights to create a water-resistant barrier. If flashing becomes damaged or deteriorates over time, it can compromise your roof’s ability to keep water out. Regularly inspect your flashing for signs of wear or damage and have it repaired or replaced as needed.
Cracked or peeling paint on roof components
Painted roof components, such as fascia boards and soffits, can provide valuable clues about your roof’s condition. Cracks or peeling paint may indicate water damage or excessive moisture, suggesting that your roof may have issues that require attention.
Problems with old roofs
The roof of a house is the most important part; it protects the home’s inhabitants from the elements, prevents water damage, and keeps the building healthy. As a homeowner, you should be aware of the following issues before you reach out to a roofing contractor:
Cracked roof shingles are probably the most common cause of water penetration. The weather is also a factor, with windstorms, rain, or snow quickly penetrating a house with cracked or missing roof shingles. Long-term leaks could also lead to mold, so it can be important to think about it now and get a repair.
If your ceiling looks like it’s caving in, that’s not a good sign. While the roof itself may not fall on you, the interior of your home may have more severe issues within its structure that need to be dealt with quickly. You should call a roofing contractor now to inspect and fix whatever problems this could signify.
Moss is a big problem in colder climates that experience freeze/thaw cycles. As it clings onto shingle roofs, moss can chip or break them up. If you haven’t been actively monitoring your roof, this can create hard-to-fix problems.
The good news is there are ways to get rid of moss so your roof will be safe from breakage, and the moss won’t return for a few years.
Roofing maintenance tips
Maintaining your roof is essential for ensuring its longevity and protecting your home from potential damage. Regular maintenance can help identify and address small issues before they escalate into more significant problems. Here are some practical roofing maintenance tips that homeowners can follow to keep their roofs in optimal condition:
Regularly clean gutters and downspouts
Clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to water backup, causing water to overflow and seep under the roof’s edge. This can result in water damage to your roof, fascia, and even the interior of your home. To prevent this, clean your gutters and downspouts at least twice a year, ideally in the spring and fall. Remove leaves, debris, and other obstructions to ensure proper water flow.
Trim overhanging branches
Trees with branches over your roof pose a potential risk, especially during storms or high winds. Falling branches can damage shingles, create punctures, or even break through the roof surface. Regularly trim back branches that come too close to your roof to reduce the risk of damage and keep your roof safe.
Conduct annual roof inspections
Schedule a professional roof inspection at least once a year, preferably before the start of the rainy season. Roofing experts can identify minor issues developed over time and recommend necessary repairs. During the inspection, observe signs of damage, such as cracked or missing shingles, loose flashing, or deteriorated seals around vents and chimneys.
Address roof repairs promptly
Take immediate action if you notice any signs of roof damage during your inspections or from the ground, such as curling shingles or visible leaks. Delaying repairs can lead to more extensive damage and costlier repairs. Contact a reputable roofing contractor to assess the issue and perform the necessary repairs immediately.
Ensure proper attic ventilation
Adequate attic ventilation is crucial for regulating temperature and moisture levels within your home. Proper ventilation helps prevent the formation of condensation, which can lead to mold growth and damage to the roof’s wooden structures. Make sure vents are free of obstructions and functioning correctly to promote a healthy attic environment.
Check for signs of moss or algae growth
Moss and algae can grow on the roof’s surface in humid and shaded areas, especially on asphalt shingles. These organisms can retain moisture and cause premature shingle deterioration. To prevent this, use zinc or copper strips along the roof ridge to inhibit moss and algae growth.
Check flashing and seals
Regularly inspect flashing around chimneys, vents, and skylights for signs of damage or deterioration. Damaged flashing can lead to water penetration and roof leaks. Ensure that seals around these roof penetrations are tight and in good condition to prevent water from entering your home.
When is it time to replace an old roof?
After time spent maintaining and avoiding future damage, replacing the roof often becomes worth the investment. Different homeowners have different needs or circumstances when to do this, though. Some reasons you might want to consider replacing your old roof:
You’re in immediate danger
Suppose your roof damage is so great that it’s in danger of caving in. You need to get a new one. Staying home won’t be safe if it isn’t properly repaired.
You’re selling the house
Potential homebuyers may be wary of purchasing a home with an old roof or one that has undergone significant repairs. Replacing your roof may also increase the house’s value, offsetting the new roof’s costs.
It just makes economic sense
Some roofing companies charge by square foot when doing a partial roof replacement. It will become cheaper to replace the entire thing at a certain point.
A partial roof replacement is most commonly used when fixing an issue with one or two specific shingles. Other savings include preventing damage from leaks and other weather-related problems, increased energy efficiency, and a longer lifespan.
Will insurance cover a 20 year-old roof?
Having a newer roof could result in a reduced insurance rate. Roofs 20 or older might not qualify for coverage or may only be covered for their current cash value. Insurance companies generally seek roofs in good condition to be eligible for coverage without apparent wear or damage.
How to get insurance to pay for roof replacement?
First, document the damage thoroughly. Next, review your insurance policy to understand what is covered. Then, proceed to file a claim with your insurance company. After that, you must wait for the insurance adjuster to assess the damage. Once the claim is approved, find a reputable roofing contractor to start the necessary roofing work.
Does the age of your roof affect homeowners insurance?
The age of your roof does impact your home insurance policy premiums. The older your roof, the higher your insurance premiums will likely be. Some insurance policies only offer actual cash value rather than the replacement cost of your roof, so check what your homeowners insurance covers before you make a claim.
Can you get homeowners insurance with an old roof in Florida?
Roof insurance is not state-specific, so you can get homeowners insurance in Florida even with an old roof. You’ll want to look into insurance coverage options regardless of location with an old roof.
How do insurance companies determine the age of your roof?
Homeowners insurance companies look at when the roof was last replaced or repaired. A roof inspection will help them determine the age of your roof.
In what circumstance would a property insurance claim be rejected?
Your insurance agent might not cover damage if it was caused due to negligence on your part. You should check your insurance policy for any other exclusions that may be in there.
What are the benefits of a metal roof?
The main benefit of a metal roof is its longevity. Compared to an asphalt roof with a lifespan of around 20 years, metal can last anywhere from 40-70 years, depending on which metal you choose.
What are the requirements for roof replacement?
You can replace your roof whenever you want, but this is typically done if you have a bad or damaged roof. You may also want to switch the roof materials, such as moving from asphalt shingles to metal roofs. It also depends on the roof’s condition. Usually, if your roof is in good condition, you may not want to bother replacing it, as it can be pricey.
How much would a new roof cost?
This depends on the roof type you choose to have. Asphalt shingles are typically the cheapest roof material, but you may have another roofing material in mind. It also depends on the shape of your chosen roof, for example, a hip roof, a gable roof, or a flat roof.
What is a deductible?
You’ll pay your deductible amount before your homeowners insurance policy kicks in and covers the damage.
What other factors affect homeowners insurance rates?
Other factors that impact home insurance premiums include location, age of the home, and if you have safety features. Some companies may offer discounts to people with safety features such as cameras and smart alarms.
What are some of the advantages of homeowners insurance?
Homeowners insurance is a type of insurance that protects the homeowner against financial losses caused by fire, theft, vandalism, and other risks. The main advantage of homeowners insurance is that you have peace of mind. You know you’re protected from the unexpected and can sleep soundly at night, knowing your home is safe.
How to get help with homeowners insurance with an old roof
The most important thing about homeowners insurance is that it helps protect your property if something happens.
It covers anything from fire and wind damage to hail and vandalism. If your roof needs some repairs, then you can get a discount on your homeowners insurance by getting an inspection done on the roof before the policy starts.
To check that you’re getting the best possible deal for your roof, compare rates and find the cheapest insurance policy for your needs.